“The Ban” on curse work went into effect in 1929, but that hasn’t stopped members of 17-year-old Cassel Sharpe’s family. Cassel is a sleepwalker and “the only nonworker in my whole family.” The novel opens with his having sleepwalked to the roof of his prep-school dorm and waking with no idea how he got there. He’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend Lila’s murder. Worse yet, he may be responsible for her death, which he fears he may have committed in his sleep. “I’ve always loved caper movies and noir novels, so this was my opportunity to craft a fantasy world that was evocative of the mood of those stories,” says Holly Black. “This is the first novel I’ve ever written in first person, and the perspective of Cassel, a charming grifter with more secrets than he knows, was tricky but ultimately a delight.”
For a complete list of the fantasy and science fiction among Kirkus’ Best of 2010 for teens, click here.
White Cat: The Curse Workers #1
McElderry/Simon & Schuster / May / 9781416963967 / $17.99 / ages 12 & up